Τρίτη, 8 Ιανουαρίου 2013

UNESCO-IHP Book Addresses Water and Cultural Diversity



21 December 2012: The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – International Hydrological Programme (UNESCO-IHP) has released a book linked to its Water and Cultural Diversity project, titled “Water, Cultural Diversity and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures?The book, published by Springer, aims to examine the inseparability of human culture and the environment, in particular the unifying role of water in that relationship by addressing the role of water in sustaining diverse human cultures, the role of diverse human cultures in valuing, managing and using water resources, and the consequences of management decisions in maintaining human communities and the ecosystems they inhabit.
In order to address these issues, the book includes essays divided into five parts. The first part on water and cultural diversity includes case studies on the “culture of water,” aiming to present the breadth of human cultural diversity regarding water. The second part examines the role of traditional livelihoods and knowledge in sustainably managing water resources and the impacts of water degradation on ways of life. The third part presents case studies on existing patterns of water resources management, ways in which water management has detrimentally impacted cultural diversity, and ways in which management has improved “biocultural viability.” The fourth part addresses emerging trends and future potentials, while the fifth part identifies future scenarios and calls for water management approaches that support cultural and biological diversity.
The part on water and cultural diversity features chapters on: water and cultural diversity; placing water and culture; the paradigm shift in India’s river policies; rethinking the role of humans in water management; local water management in the Andes; water in the Jerid Region of Tunisia; and diverting water - cultural plurality and public water features in an urban environment.
The part on culture and water in diverse environments features chapters on: culture and water in diverse environments; understanding and maintaining cultural diversity among South East Alaska natives; indigenous water cosmology and coastal ownership amongst the Yolngu people in Australia; the influence of westernization on water resources use and conservation among the Maasai people of Kenya; groundwater and qanats in Syria; case studies from the Americas; diversity in water governance in the case of San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico; Tibetan participatory development along the Mekong (Langcangjiang) River, in Yunnan, China; and ecological change and the sociocultural consequences of the Ganges River’s decline.
The part on water value, access, use and control, features chapters on: culture, gender and vulnerability in a Vietnamese refugee community in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; water, culture and gender in Bangladesh; privatization and collective stewardship of water resources; and manufacturing water scarcity, generating environmental inequity.
The part on hydrodevelopment, cultural diversity and sustainability features chapters on: water culture and power – hydrodevelopment dynamics; the Lesotho Highlands Water Project; not all dams in Africa are developmental; water, culture and development in the Greater Mekong Subregion; damming China’s angry river – vulnerability in a culturally and biologically diverse watershed; and cultural survival, tribal sovereignty and river restoration on the Central Northwest Coast, North America.
The part on ways forward features chapters on: managing “water traditions” in Uttarkhand, India; community watershed reserves in Intag, Ecuador, and emerging ecological identities; asserting indigenous rights and interests in the waters of the Murray-Darling river system, Australia; a participatory process enabling Maori cultural values to inform flow regime setting; searching for sustainability and common ground in the Arab/Israeli conflict; and “water for life…water for whose life” – water, cultural diversity and sustainable development in the UN. [UNESCO Press Release] [Publication: Water, Cultural Diversity and Global Environmental Change: Emerging Trends, Sustainable Futures?]

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